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 Ephorus, whom we generally follow, on account of his exactness in these matters, (as Polybius, a writer of repute, testifies,) seems to proceed contrary to his proposed plan, and to the promise which he made at the beginning of his work. For after having censured those writers who are fond of intermixing fable with history, and after having spoken in praise of truth, he introduces, with reference to this oracle, a grave declaration, that he considers truth preferable at all times, but especially in treating subjects of this kind. For it is absurd, he says, if, in other things, we constantly follow this practice, but that when we come to speak of the oracle, which of all others is the most exempt from deception, we should introduce tales so incredible and false. Yet immediately afterwards he says, that it is the received opinion that Apollo, by the aid of Themis, established this oracle with a view to benefit the human race. He then explains these benefits, by saying, that men were invited to pursue a more civilized mode of life, and were taught maxims of wisdom by oracles; by injunctions to perform or to abstain, or by positive refusal to attend to the prayers of petitioners. Some, he says, suppose, that the god himself in a bodily form directs these things; others, that he communicates an intimation of his will to men [by words].
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